Various Authors – Sweet TNT Short Stories

Critics May Lie

This is an official Caribbean Books Foundation review

Longevity is a good thing. It’s something every relationship, business, and organization strives towards. To be enshrined in society and successful for a long time. And not just for the sake of saying ‘we’re here’, but to create a real presence that can be remembered with good stories of your journey to tell.

After ten years of publishing monthly issues of Sweet TNT magazine, the Culturama Publishing Company has reached a milestone that many businesses only dream to get to. They are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year!

snoppy squad dance Congratulations!

To commemorate this event, they’ve released two books packed with the type of content that Sweet TNT magazine has become known for. One book was featured in our October Caribbean book review and this month we’ll review the other.

Sweet TNT Short Stories…

sweet tnt short stories River lime!

I love the cover. Although I’ve never…

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What Horror looks like to the wimp!

What Horror looks like to the Wimp! 

I love reading and I enjoy a good movie but I have a secret. Horror stories movies scare the hell out of me or put the hell into me. When I was a child or even at the young adult stage I could have covered it up as a normal pubescent quirk that you would grow out of.

Now I am a grown adult with offspring of my own so it’s hard to explain why my brain doesn’t understand the level of make believe or fantasy that came from another human’s brain into the arts to me. I internalize it. I dream about it and it remains in my psyche for weeks: crawling under my skin long after the television has been turned off and the book returned to its shelf.

So why care?

Well, I like to watch movies with my husband. When I choose a movie he muddles through it without complaining and I would like to return the favor. Instead of always screaming, “Oh my gosh, that’s what you want to watch,” or watching it and filching, squirming, complaining or pretending to fall asleep. Yep, i’m that kind of wife. It actually  took me a while to figure out that I need to watch a movie or read a book to the end so that I wouldn’t spend too much time imagining the different ways that it could end, so once I see it through I would only have one scenario to ponder and obsess over.

I still think Exorcist is very scary. You will understand why I broke my rule and didn’t finish it. I watched The Ring once, never again. Jaws still make me unsure when I put my foot in the ocean (and no I never go out swimming to far). Movies like SAW, Scream and the Texas Chain Saw Massacre is not on my watching or reading list. Silence of the Lamb was watchable and readable, Predator and even Se7en too. 28 Days later was strangely too much to bear. I may have been able to make Nightmare on Elm Street (all of them) but didn’t try. The Thing, crawling and gushing violently out, not on my list to watch again. I remember filching in the end when the last thing was a light. Thank you for a reprise. Final Destination seem eerie much like The Others. Dawn of the Dead, no I haven’t seen any. I didn’t watch Omen (children in Horror make me queasy) but I did watch IT, which I refer to as “Kiss me again fat boy.” If I had to pin point a show that started this entire psychosis it may actually be IT.

With the special effects of the twentieth century I abandoned horror altogether because it was becoming too realistic and my psyche just couldn’t endure. Much because is due to my overactive imagination (code for wimp).

When I became a parent I got caught up in the world of Disney and cartoons before I went back to grown up programming. The closest thing I get to horror these days is True Blood – the last season I watched was season four. Watching a crazy vampire flick makes me zone in on too many necks while I am in a normal conversation and at night, I am always looking for a sudden attack by a stranger or friend. So yes I abandoned that too and any other horror flick in between.

I have to say that Criminal Minds is wonderfully creepy and psychotic without having to commit to a Horror experience. So it got me to thinking. What if I wrote something creepy and eerie without delving into the being scared out of your wits realm?

I wanted to write something simple enough so I chose a haunted house, with a Romance genre. At first I thought of a couple moving into a haunted house and being provoked by a ghost but Beetle Juice did that already. So I opted to having the house stay haunted but let the male character be the ghost and love interest be the woman who moves in.

The task was to make it sexy without losing the eerie feeling you get when you think. What she’s crushing on a ghost?  Well crushing and a little bit more (wicked grin). After a couple of rewrites I found a back story that I was comfortable with, which made intimacy possible and I created a villain that I am proud of.

As I wrote I got braver. I kept saying to my fingers, you know it could be a little scarier for impact. Maybe the characters don’t have to be all good or bad. You can put in some ulterior motives and gave someone a dark side. My happy ending was also pulled apart as I needed to leave an eerie feeling with readers when they closed the book.

The more I wrote, the more I got comfortable with being true to the character even if it meant putting them at more risk. Which is what others writers do. If you have a Zombie character you can’t let him drink tea and discuss his feelings. He has to scare and evoke terror and maybe even bring the plague to thousands. As a writer with my new found bravery (it’s not bravery just yet but it feels good so I call it that). My New Horror Romance, The Ghost at 1 Cheshill Lane is a soft horror based in the Caribbean. It is available on Amazon but I feel inspired now to write something that can really be classified as a Horror.

I’m just kidding. I’ll write myself into a nightmare if I go further.

I hope you enjoy the book.




J.L. Campbell – Don’t Get Mad… Get Even

Don’t get mad. Get even @jlcampbell #caribbeanbookmagic

Critics May Lie

This is an official Caribbean Books Foundation review

The sun is out today again, after a series of heavy rainy days. Yes, the Caribbean is currently being pummelled by one tropical storm after another. Nothing new during this time of the year. Storms, rain, and floods for the Caribbean are like earthquakes are for Asia. It will happen. We will be hopelessly unprepared, but we will band together and get through it anyway.

That being said, hope things are sunny and well on your side of the world, and if not I hope you are cuddling up somewhere dry and warm looking for a book to read! And do I have one for you! This time from a Jamaican author (Jamaica! Wah gwaan?) J.L. Campbell’s book…

don't get mad get even

Don’t Get Mad… Get Even Vol 1

If some of you took the opportunity to read the Caribbean Romance Teaser Book 1

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Kimolisa Mings – Woman Defined

Critics May Lie

This is an official Caribbean Books Foundation review

Hello loves.

After being sick for a week and very ambitiously starting back my exercise routine afterward anyway I’ve been feeling a bit low. Maybe it’s the rain, but I love the rain so maybe I just need to put the dumbbells down and chill.

Still, I felt I could handle something short and sweet. So this month I’ll be reviewing a book of poetry by Kimolisa Mings called Woman Defined.

k mings w defined

I’ve had this book in my Amazon reader for a long while. More than two years now!! I just never found the time to get to it, until now. So let’s start the review!

I don’t know much about the author’s background, other than that she is from Antigua. So I can’t say if any of these poems are about her personally. The collection of 11 poems follow an initial…

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Liane Spicer – Café au Lait

Critics May Lie

This is an official Caribbean Books Foundation review

Every time I do a review or have to write something not solely because I feel like it, I suffer a bit. I want to write what I want to write damnit!  pouts like a 5-year-old

But every time I hit this wall I remind myself that I am an adult (puts on my big girl pants), and more importantly, I’m a professional or at least I would like to be taken seriously. This isn’t about me, it’s about letting you know the deal so you can make an informed decision. It’s about building up my rapport, finding my own unique writing voice, learrrrrning.

If you’re wondering what I’m babbling on about, this month’s review is… drum roll, please…

cafeaulait-lianespicer Oh boy.  sweats

A romance novel. sigh

I like romance. I like novels. But somehow when the two mesh together… not…

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How to raise an Unselfish child in a Selfish world? – The Importance of Mercy

How to raise an Unselfish child in a Selfish world?

Part 1 – The Importance of Mercy

It’s S.E.A. season and I can’t tell you how many times I have to check myself and I wonder if I should push hard for the “good school mantra” or not. We all want our children to do and be their best but can we accept their best to be enough. I look at my child and I see every artistic talent that I have and more, (so much more) how can I deliberately put her in this academic box and then convince her to follow her talents later on.  

What do I say: “Just concentrate on S.E.A now and after we’ll change the rules and be different.”    

Didn’t it all work out for us, good school or not. Aren’t we living our life in spite of that drama; aren’t we running businesses, excelling in jobs and persevering. I am and I wished I started sooner.       

I worry that I am teaching my children to be too competitive, selfish at such an early stage in life, as she tries to fulfill my dreams, she’s becoming a little tyrant, maybe a miniature version of me. 

The Power of Mercy

What is Mercy? Compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. 


Each generation molds the next generation and yes, we continued where the last generation started, they transformed the dynamics of the world putting the nuclear family above the village and we perfect it.  

We paved the playgrounds because grass was too dirty, we say stay inside and watch TV so your expensive clothes won’t get dirty, we say don’t bother playing with the neighbors children, they’re not like us, watch your tablet instead.  

We tell them don’t feed stray animals because they’ll hang around and then we’ll have to feed them everyday.  

We interview their friends and say who’s good enough, who’s smart enough, who has enough. We strategically move them away from those type of friends we don’t like to those we do.  

We say don’t share your snacks, your lunch, don’t help them with their homework, don’t let them see your answers. We say, I didn’t buy school supplies for you to share with your friends. We tell them not to forgive their classmates, just stop talking to that child, we say. When was the last time we sent our children with something to share with the class for no reason at all. We teach them not to forgive, unkindness and selfishness. They don’t even know what charity means much less mercy. It’s just them and you in the world now and guess what one day they’ll realize you lied to them.  

You see children are genuinely merciful, they are born with mercy written in their very being until we push it out of them. Have you ever noticed how they play, they forgive and forget, they share, they cry for each other, it’s astounding and I wish I can tap into that innocence so easily again.   

I am selfish and it’s hard to push it down and re-train myself some days, because my reflex is bitch mode. It’s even harder to teach my child the things I know I should, when I’m fighting with myself to retain them. You see, mercy to me is sometimes akin to insanity, I admit it, I scream to the heavens, “You got to be kidding me, really!” at least once a month, and that’s a good month.  

Sometimes, I have to admit to her that I was wrong, that she should be kind, she should help in spite of any reservations I may have. She should follow her heart, and begin to hear the voice of God on her own.      

You see mercy is more that just kindness, forgiveness and charity, mercy comes from your soul not your head. Mercy says you’ve done me wrong, and I have the right to chastise you but I’ll forgive you and work with you to be a better person. Mercy is categorized as a noun but it’s really a powerful verb, you demonstrate mercy. These days I just say, “God of the universe help me to get this lesson of mercy without it killing me.” 

Some days i am convinced that my generation is too long gone, there is so much fear in us to help this world but we can stop and step back and give our children’s generation the opportunity to redeem us all.   

Teach your children mercy by showing them mercy, demonstrate by showing mercy to others.  If you want your children to understand divinity give them the gift of mercy.  

Mercy is fearless.

Mercy is freedom. 

Mercy is peace.





W. St. Cyr – Fields Of Death

Critics May Lie

This is an official Caribbean Books Foundation review

First of all, let me just say that most reviews I’ve seen for this book have been glowingly positive but from the stand point that they can’t believe such a hard core crime novel came out of Barbados.

I find that a little insulting and I refuse to join in your amazement. There are incredibly talented people from that island who are capable of anything and I will not let this review be bulldozed by the low-expectations placed on a clearly talented author. Sorry but only honest reviews here.

When I chose Fields of Death to review, it really was the cover art that drew me, so kudos to the graphic artist, whoever they are. Cover art matters!

fields of death

It drew me to find out more about the story behind the book. The cane field murders in Barbados. Now I’m not going…

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Stakeholder Consultation regarding proposed Literature Amendments to the Art & Culture Tax Allowance


On Fri, Feb 22 the Ministry of Culture sent out the following correspondence below to Stakeholders which is in response to lobbying by Caribbean Books Foundation in Trinidad for Writers to be included as Art and Cultural Allowance. This proposed Consultation is a huge step to revitalize our Literature Industry please take the time out to share your views at the Consultation.

The letter that was sent to request this initiative is available here to review:  letters.admendmenttoArtandCulture Allowance.Min.Culture from Caribbean Books Foundation

I will be sending in names by 7th March, if you have an interest in being apart of this let me know or you can contact the Ministry directly.

Marsha Gomes-Mckie, Founder

Caribbean Books Foundation


Good day,

The Artist Registry intends to embark on a pilot stakeholder consultation session regarding proposed amendments to the Art & Culture Tax Allowance. In order to do so we would like to have a diverse cross section of representatives from the literary community and as such we are asking for your suggestions on persons who should be contacted for the session to be held in March (further details to come). At this point we would like to put together an initial list of persons and different bodies to invite for meaningful discussion. This will be a working session and we hope to have some solid suggestions by the end of the exercise. 

If you can send us a preliminary list of names along with contact information of persons who you think would be vital to this process by Friday March 8th it would be much appreciated. Once the details are finalized we will work on sending out an invitation with the date, time and more details regarding the session to both you and the list of names provided.

Thank you for your time and we look forward to conducting this exercise with your assistance in the very near future.

The Secretariat
The National Registry of Artists and Cultural Workers
JOBCO Building
51-55 Frederick Street
Port of Spain
Office Nos: 868.225.4023 ext 4058 / 4059 / 4061 / 4063



How to Write Best Selling Children’s Books

How to Write Best Selling Children’s Books

This was an interesting read, wanted to share. Taken from WikiHow edited by Lucas Halbert, Horses4Ever, Nicole Willson, Sondra C and 8 others

There are seven fundamental reasons that some books succeed and others collect dust on the author’s bookshelf. These seven keys to success as an author are simple, obvious even, and yet in the midst of our writing many of us forget them. We get so focused on the idea of the book that we forget the mechanics. Here is the strategy that award winning authors use:

  1. Create a hero that your audience can relate to
  2. Examine your target market honestly. Who will be reading your book? Just because you think that your main character is funny, charming and brilliant doesn’t mean your audience will. Write about what your audience cares about.
  3. Write for your audience, not your high school English professor. There has already been a Shakespeare. Most genres do not require you to write like him. You will just turn your audience off if you write at a level beyond their comprehension.
  4. Give your reader a problem that he or she can empathize with. For example are you writing for teenage girls? Then something to do with the pains of adolescent romance, or lack thereof, might be a good start.
  5. Provide a nemesis that makes sense. The antagonist in your story should appear to be everything that your main character is not. Then go back in and give him or her some good qualities as well.
  6. People are not good or evil. Your characters should have the same character traits, as the rest of humanity.
  7. Example: A Thief with a Conscience or who hates everyone except his little sister, who he has taken care of since their mom died.
  8. Give all your characters depth.
  9. Provide obstacles for your main characters. Both your hero and antagonist need to have a few bumps in the road. Life isn’t smooth. Let them both screw up and figure their way out of their messes.
  10. Your hero, at the very least, must learn a lesson about himself or herself. Is he braver than he thought he was? Is her nerdiness actually an asset?
  11. Your characters should have some type of self-realization. It can be subtle. You do not have to go into a five chapter monologue on it, just give the readers some clues that he or she has changed.
  12. Begin and end your story with a bang. Grab your reader’s attention in the beginning and have them hoping for a sequel in the end. The rest, no matter how much work you put into it, will probably be skimmed until they hit the next seat gripping scene. Your job is to make that skim time as short as possible.


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